Have you ever thought of sharing your home with another person? Whatever stage you’re at in your life, at some point you might consider finding a roommate to split expenses with and keep you company. Living with a new roommate is certainly a transition for the both of you, and it’s smart to weigh the pros and cons before signing any contracts.
Before you make up your mind that living with a roommate is (or isn’t) right for you, consider this list of pros and cons while making your decision.
Living with a roommate certainly has its benefits. Whether your new living situation lasts for months or years, you can experience the following pros during your time together:
1. Living with a roommate can keep extra money in your wallet
One of the biggest benefits of living with a roommate is splitting the cost of your bills. From your rent bill to the cost of utilities and even groceries, your living expenses can literally be cut in half. Having a roommate can be exceptionally beneficial if you’re on a budget, especially if you’re living in pricey urban areas such as New York City or San Francisco.
And since you’ll be able to keep more money in your bank account, you can start saving for larger investments down the line. This presents the perfect opportunity to save for college, a new home, or even funds to launch your own business. Not to mention, it’s always a good idea to have a savings cushion for emergencies—you’ll never know when you may need it.
2. Cut your housework in half
Along with reducing your rent and utility bills, household chores can also become less of a burden. You can take turns doing the dishes, taking out the trash, and all the other necessary evils that aren’t a bit of fun—but the good news is that the responsibility isn’t all on you.
3. You’ll be in good company
Although everyone needs their alone time now and then, humans are social creatures. Having a roommate around to vent about your day or shoot the breeze with can be comforting and relaxing. And if you happen to have the same taste in TV shows, you’ll have someone to share a bowl of popcorn with during your favorite sitcom.
4. You can enjoy the perks of living with the opposite sex
If you’re single, you might embark on the adventure of having a roommate of the opposite sex. Your roommate situation can lead to a lot of fun, flirting, and eventually taking things to the next level—whether it results in some time between the sheets or beginning a new relationship that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
5. You can move into to nicer neighborhoods
Having a roommate gives you the ability to live in nicer neighborhoods that you couldn’t afford on your own. Living in a nicer neighborhood has all sorts of perks, including security, curb appeal, status symbol, and an overall desirable home.
Living with a roommate can be a positive experience, but it has its downsides. These are a few cons to consider along with the pros:
1. Your roommate might be unreliable with paying bills
One surprise that you don’t want to get from your roommate is the inability to pay their bills. While living with a roommate can help save you money, sometimes the exact opposite can happen and you end up paying more than you initially agreed. You don’t want to get in a messy situation with finances, so proceed cautiously when you make arrangements on who pays for what bill.
2. You might not get along
Whether you’ve known your roommate for your whole life or just a few days, there’s a chance that you might not get along when you’re actually living together. This can be quite an unsettling experience, especially if you’ve signed a long-term contract with your lease. If you discover that you don’t get along with your roommate, try your best to find even the smallest part of common ground, and respect one another’s wishes for privacy.
3. Privacy can be a concern
Speaking of privacy, you might not get a whole lot of it when you’re living with a roommate. Even if your roommate is your best friend, everyone needs his or her own personal space. If you and your roommate work separate shifts, this can help give you a bit more privacy and alone time. But if you’re home together 24/7, transform your bedroom into your own getaway retreat when you need some space.
4. Relationships Can turn ugly and awkward
If you happen to be living with the opposite sex, it can ignite fireworks or spark friction. Sometimes, the opposite sex can really press your buttons and leave you questioning your decision of sharing your living space.
Furthermore, one roommate can develop feelings for the other, and those feelings might not be mutual. This can lead to a very awkward living situation that’s a bit too close for comfort.
5. You might have to deal with unwanted guests
Living with a roommate often means encountering unwanted guests at some point. Roommates can invite people who you don’t know (or even like) into your living space. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about it since it’s your roommate’s home, too. The reality is that you might have to deal with unwanted guests sitting on your couch and watching TV—and even helping themselves in your kitchen.
Is living with a roommate right for you?
The decision to live (or not to live) with a roommate ultimately depends on your lifestyle, financial situation, and personality. Sometimes, living with a roommate can be an excellent choice and make your life easier in multiple ways. The best scenario is that you can gain a lifelong friend throughout the process—but at the same time, it’s just as possible to ruin a friendship if you aren’t careful.
If you’re still on the fence of whether living with a roommate and renting is the right decision for you, estimate your monthly payment with our mortgage calculator if you’re thinking of taking the path to home ownership.